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GTBee screenshot

At its core, Beeminder is a tool for getting yourself to do things using money as an incentive. Most goals on Beeminder focus on making steady progress over time. But some goals, and some people, work better with a different model.

Let’s say you have to call someone by the end of the day today, and you want to use something like Beeminder to add a monetary incentive to make sure it gets done. It’s a one-off task, that either gets completed or not, with a firm deadline in the near-ish future. Beeminder actually won’t let you set a goal date that’s less than a week away. And even if it did, it wouldn’t make much sense to beemind this one thing — you’d have a single datapoint and the goal would be achieved. Full-on beeminding is overkill for this situation.

“Full-on Beeminding is overkill for this situation”

Enter GTBee. It’s a simple to-do list that integrates with Beeminder’s API. Add a task, set a deadline, and if you don’t check it off in time, you’ll be charged $5. If you miss a deadline, you can decide to raise the motivational stakes and double to $10 (and so on if you continue to miss). You can also just remove the task or start another one at $5. You’ll get a push notification if one of your tasks is due in 24 hours, and again when the deadline is an hour away. You’ll also get an email when a charge goes through. The charges are for real — but if you reply to the email with “just testing” we’ll give you one free pass in case you want to test things out. After that you’re on the hook.

You can download GTBee for iPhone today. It’s only on iOS right now, but the app relies entirely on the publicly accessible and documented Charge endpoint of the Beeminder API, so anyone could port it if they wanted.

Postscript: This post is yet another adventure in dogfooding, since I created a GTBee task that I’d finish this post by 11 am PT. Worked like a charm, with three minutes to spare!

ADDENDUM: Here’s an ingenious way to do something very GTBee-like with Beeminder proper: “The One Must-Do Task Each Day”.